Today’s Post by Joe Farace
(Most of this text was originally published by Miata.Net in 2004.)
Mary’s loved Mazda Miatas for a long time; she thinks that they are just so darn cute. Long before she fell in love with Mercedez-Benz SLK’s, she had test driven several Miatas, liked them but could never afford one. Thirteen years ago, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer* she decided that life was too short to wait and she wanted to start running SCCA autocrosses on one condition– in a white Miata!
We began looking at early Miatas, only some of them were not white but all of them were interesting. It started with the white 1990 model with BBS wheels that we came close to purchasing until the salesman let it slip that the car had recently been repossessed from a stripper who had stopped payment on the check and had hid the car in a stable with some horses. While test driving this car, Mary noticed that it made some funny noises (maybe they were whinnies) but when we heard that tale she decided to pass.
Mary and I haunted the usual car search websites and one Saturday, we compiled a list of cars and went in search of the affordable, prefect Miata. We started with a black ’96 with steel wheels. While the miles were reasonable the car had seen hard use as an urban assault vehicle. The husband of the really nice old, hippie couple who owned the car pointed at the hump in the hood and said “see that! You wrap a half a chicken in aluminum foil and drive up to the mountains and lunch will be done when you get there.” I don’t think the Colonel’s secret herbs and spices included Castrol or STP.
We called the next two owners on our list and left messages and decided to go take a look at a car that was further away. Along the way we drove by a Mazda dealer and asked if they had any Miatas we could afford. “Nope,” the nice saleslady said but Bob in Parts is trying to sell his ’93.” It’s got a lot of miles (186,000 miles it turned out) “but the engine is all chrome and get this,” he says excitedly, “It has teeth.” Fresh from the mouth of Ralph the Shark there’s stainless steel teeth chomping away in the front grill. The engine was a work of art, but when Mary tries to sit inside, the smell of tobacco smoke stops her in her tracks. “We can get somebody to de-stinkify it,” says Bob. Ultimately we did find the car you see on this page. And while that Miata is now gone from the garage but it not forgotten and she still talks about this car and misses it.
*Update: Since this was originally written Mary has undergone surgery and radiation therapy and a few years ago was declared “cancer free” by her oncologist